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Effective Prayer

September 28, 2017

Two months after God’s overwhelming display of power to rescue Israel from bondage in Egypt the Israelites worshiped a golden calf. While Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the law of God the Israelites became impatient. They decided the best way to worship the all powerful Jehovah was to create an idol. In that same spot several weeks earlier the Israelites promised to obey all the commands of God. Their obedience lasted about as long as a particularly determined New Year’s resolution.

God was not pleased. He informed Moses of His intent to destroy the Israelites. He would start over with Moses and through him fulfill the Abrahamic covenant. Moses responded with a powerful prayer.

“And Moses besought the LORD his God,
and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people,
which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt
with great power, and with a mighty hand?
Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say,
For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains,
and to consume them from the face of the earth?
Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants,
to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them,
I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven,
and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed,
and they shall inherit it for ever.”

The prayer of Moses for Israel stayed God’s hand of wrath. In this marvelous model of effective praying are found four things crucial to prayer that “availeth much”.

  • Moses remembered the works of God (v. 12)
  • Moses sought the glory of God (v.13)
  • Moses held to the promises of God (v. 14)
  • Moses desired the benefit of others not his own (v. 12; cf. Exodus 32:10)

The Christian’s prayer will be fruitful and God-pleasing when he remembers how God has worked in the past. Whether it be remembering previous answers to prayer or remembering how God has worked to bring the individual to that point in life, prayer ought to acknowledge God’s powerful working. In praise thank God for His powerful answers. In petition look back at God’s mighty working and ask Him to do so again.

When a Christian prays seeking God’s glory above all else, God will answer. The one who has a compelling desire for the exaltation of God’s greatness will be praying “in the name of Jesus”. He will be seeking the will of God above his own desires and his own opinions. God promises to answer the prayer that makes His will supreme.

The Christian who prays what God has promised knows the will of God. He lays hold of the promises of God, not as supernatural arm-twisting to force God to do what He said, but in simple faith which relies on God to be faithful to His promises. God is faithful. He will always keep His Word.

Selfless prayer that, in accord with the previous principles, seeks the good of others will be effective. Those who ask sacrificially for the gain of others will know the power of God at work in answered prayer.

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